What I would like to do this year is do a mini bio of the land and the vinyeayard manager on each pick day, so since today is the first day of harvest and we are starting with Damon LaLonde’s Red Mountain malbec, I’m going to tell you a bit about it and him.
Scooteney Flats is a newer planting on Red Mountain, at least for malbec. Planted in 2008, this malbec is trained on a “modified VSP with a California sprawl.” It is grown at 680 ft elevation and is producing low, low tonnage at about 2 tons per acre while the vines are in retrain from the past two years.
This particular malbec is clone #2 and is grown on no slope, flat land. It has been watered very little and is by far the most stressed grape of any of the vineyards that I’m working with this year- teeny tiny berries. The dehydration in 2012 has been impressive accross the board, but you can really see it in Red Mountain with low tonnage, high sugars and high acids. Last checked, a couple of days ago, these were coming in at a high 25 plus Brix and 3.45 pH, which for malbec, is picture perfect. You need that acid- especially in tannic sites like Red Mountain- to hold up with the tannins on malbec.
Now for Damon:
I doubt very much that I’ve ever had a serious conversation with Damon, so it came as no surprise when he wanted his published quote to be as follows:
“Due to the high heat we experienced this year, it’s going to be one of the earliest vintages since the mid 90’s. The wines are going to be big, dark and hedonistic just the way I like them. If any more winemakers come to Red Mountain and say the want to make a low alcohol wine, I’m going to punch them in the face.”
There is a special place in my heart for Damon and you can see why.